Javy Báez's weekend performance proves he'll never be a complete player for Tigers

Kansas City Royals v Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals v Detroit Tigers / Duane Burleson/GettyImages

Detroit Tigers fans usually like to try to forget that Javier Báez is a Tiger whenever we talk about how exciting the team is this season. The focus is on Tarik Skubal, Riley Greene, Kerry Carpenter, even new Detroiter Mark Canha, because if this team can make it to the postseason, it'll be because of those players and probably in spite of Báez.

However, the moments when we don't mind claiming him openly as our everyday shortstop (as much) are the moments when he's reminding us that he's still a well above-average if not elite defensive player. He's already made some very nice, highlight reel-worthy grabs at short that are deserving of applause despite his other flaws.

But then something weird happened: he started...hitting decently? A two-hit day on April 18 seemed to be a bit of a spark, because his batting average improved from .151 to .203 in five-game span, and even though it dipped a bit in the four games after, he wasn't completely hitless.

And, sure, maybe it's a stretch to ask anyone to celebrate a player hitting .203, but he was also actually starting to walk a tiny bit more during that stretch, with two back-to-back games with a walk each on April 26 and 28. Progress!

But then, a two-error day at short on Saturday was a rude interruption on the fun. He — along with Spencer Torkelson, who also had a two-error day — was benched the next day.

Javier Báez was benched after a two-error day despite finally showing signs of improvement to his bat

Is Báez cursed to never be good (or even marginally okay) at more than one thing at a time? It seems like that might be the case. He racked up five RBI over eight games and hit four doubles (his first four of the season) during that time, but he was also saddled with his first four errors of the year.

Manager AJ Hinch has benched Báez before; last year, he seemed to forget how many outs there were in a game against the Blue Jays, was doubled up on a baserunning error after a fly ball was caught, and didn't return to the game after the mistake.

Maybe this time it's less of a punishment and more of a chance to take a breather, but it's not a good look for Báez either way, as it makes it ever clearer that he may never be able to be a complete player for the Tigers.